A delicate truce between the Kenyan government and its opposition is on the precipice of crumbling, as Azimio la Umoja One Kenya leader, Raila Odinga, issued an ultimatum to President William Ruto. He stipulated a 48-hour deadline for the commencement of bipartisan negotiations, threatening otherwise to reignite mass protests.
In a move emblematic of the escalating tensions, Odinga declared that the bipartisan committee must convene immediately, otherwise, Azimio will nullify its pledge to suppress public demonstrations.
This provocative announcement closely trails a recent demand for the swift conclusion of negotiations within a month, intended to dissolve the lingering deadlock following the contentious August 2022 elections, among other pending issues.
Odinga indicated that Azimio is prepared to venture into alternative courses of action should the committee fail to resume its obligations. He conveyed growing frustration towards their counterparts from the ruling Kenya Kwanza alliance, accusing them of stifling the previously brokered truce with a noticeable lack of enthusiasm.
Odinga expressed his discontent at a press briefing yesterday at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation offices in Nairobi. With prominent political figures like Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua, Jubilee Party Secretary-General Jeremiah Kioni, and Roots Party leader George Wajackoyah by his side, Odinga was assertive, “If their delegation is not prepared by Wednesday, we will dismiss our gentleman’s agreement, and we will investigate other options available to us as Azimio.”
Odinga alleged that the dismissal of Eldas MP Adan Keynan from the committee was a mere diversion to placate them as Kenya hosted high-ranking leaders including Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Last Friday, the committee reconvened under the stewardship of MPs Otiende Amollo and George Murugara. They revealed that they had appointed advocates Muthomi Thiankolu for Kenya Kwanza and Paul Mwangi for Azimio as joint secretaries, demonstrating the commitment of both factions to resolve the disputed issues.
Despite the tension, some members of the committee remain hopeful. Kakamega Senator, Boni Khalwale, optimistically anticipates smooth negotiations this week, a sentiment echoed by Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna, who remains hopeful for productive dialogue. However, Sifuna warns that there is no turning back should these crucial discussions falter.